50 More Shades of Grey

Donna Karan Fall 2012

So have you kept up with the media hype? The book that continues to sell and be read by thousands. If you recall you can find my general impression of the novel here, but I would urge you to read Douglas Wilson’s take on it from the Huffington Post. He makes a link between the Twilight series and 50 Shades in a way that suggests that they are both targeting a similar female audience who wants to be duped.  Wilson writes:

“Now as many know, the publishing phenomenon of Fifty Shades of Grey began as Twilight fan fiction. This is no accident at all. The train not only leaves one station, but it usually arrives at the next one. The two publishing phenomena are using the same basic device — women who learn to view themselves as prey. And it’s working (like crazy) this time around as well.”

This take on the word grey and prey by Wilson is helpful. Playing in the grey areas here is playing game with being prey. He concludes by arguing …” the fact that an abuse-prepping catechism like this one clearly appeals to millions of women is grand news for predatory (straight-toothed) men everywhere. This Fifty Shades phenomenon has been called “Mommy porn.” Sure — Mommy porn for women with daddy issues, for women already trained or currently training, to view themselves as prey.”

So now I am convinced there are several levels to reject the novel. Mommy porn, yeah not good. But the idea that this text like Twlight before it, can train our thinking about how we might behave, how women might behave with men is even more perturbing.